Opinion: Jeffrey already putting his stamp on Showgrounds job

David Jeffrey was an animated figure on the touchline during his first home game in charge of Ballymena United on Saturday. Picture: Press Eye.
David Jeffrey was an animated figure on the touchline during his first home game in charge of Ballymena United on Saturday. Picture: Press Eye.

David Jeffrey has wasted no time in placing his own indelible stamp on his new managerial position at Ballymena United.

Ordinarily, you expect a change of manager to be felt primarily by those who set foot on the pitch.

It’s less common for the new incumbent to make changes which impact upon supporters, officials and media in a practical manner.

From the moment you set foot inside the Showgrounds on Saturday and found security staff prowling the corridors, as well as clearly-defined no-go areas, you knew that things were simply not going to be the same.

With no access to the tunnel and changing room areas, as well as the players’ lounge, it’s clear that Jeffrey wants no distractions for his players either before or after games - it’s no longer an ‘open house’ policy.

Likewise, the days of journalists lurking around the changing room area, hoping to grab a quick word in the corridor with players are over, with post-match press conferences now carried out in a well-equipped room within the Showgrounds complex.

Aside from the odd grumble from people whose long-standing pre or post-match routines had been upset, it was abundantly clear that in Jeffrey, Ballymena have a manager who has a clear view of exactly which direction he wants to take the club.

It’s not just results and performances that Jeffrey is out to alter, it’s mindsets as well.

That has already translated itself onto the playing area - albeit it a heavily-sanded one at Ballymena - with Saturday’s win over Warrenpoint very definitely falling into the gritty rather than pretty category.

The importance of those two late goals cannot be over-stated as it was a win that gives United some much-needed breathing space from the scrap of the relegation zone.

You can’t help but wonder how Saturday’s game might have panned out had Warrenpoint’s Stephen Moan not claimed first use of the soap for the third time in the three games between the clubs this season because the visitors were a goal up and good value for it.

But as much as Jeffrey attempted to understate the substitutions of Jonny Frazer and Willie Faulkner, they were enough to give United the extra impetus to get past Warrenpoint’s tiring 10 men - a classic case of the manager making the right move at the right time.

Ballymena fans will certainly hope that is the shape of things to come at the Showgrounds.